North Aurora, IL – Governor Pritzker has declared September 22nd to 28th as Illinois Rail Safety Week, which is intended to promote vehicle and pedestrian safety around railroad tracks and trains. This year’s event is sponsored by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) in partnership with Metra, CN Railroad, and Illinois Operation Lifesaver along with support from state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, railroads, schools, and various private sector agencies.
In addition, Operation Lifesaver has declared this week as national Rail Safety Week, and the ILACP is proud to be part of the national effort. In Illinois during 2018, there were 86 collisions at public highway-rail crossings involving motor vehicles or pedestrians, which resulted in 26 injuries and 15 fatalities. In addition, there were 40 trespasser incidents that resulted in 18 injuries and 22 fatalities when people trespassed onto railroad property. During 2018, Illinois ranked 3rd in the nation in collision fatalities and 5th in the nation in trespasser fatalities.
To promote rail safety awareness and education, the North Aurora Police Department is participating in Illinois Rail Safety Week, focusing on education and enforcement. Enforcement details are planned throughout the week at various railroad grade crossings within North Aurora to cite both drivers and pedestrians who disobey the laws associated with railroad grade crossings and railroad property. In addition, police officers will be distributing literature to the public that contains information on how to be safe around trains and train tracks.
Please remember, not only is it against the law to stop your vehicle on railroad tracks, it is also against the law to stop your vehicle anywhere within the highway-rail grade crossing. Highway-rail grade crossings are typically marked by white stop lines located on the pavement in advance of the crossing, and if not marked by white stop lines, the highway-rail grade crossing extends from protective gate arm to protective gate arm.
According to Illinois Operation Lifesaver, more than 85 percent of all collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices (flashing lights, gates, and ringing bells). For more information about Illinois Rail Safety Week, please visit www.illinoisrailsafetyweek.org or contact the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.